Written By Paul Bergeron on June 8, 2022
Belmont Stakes

Many trends point to Mo Donegal winning Saturday’s $1.5 million, Grade 1 Belmont Stakes with stablemate Nest, a filly, considered a top value play.

But the same could have been said for Epicenter, who went off as the favorite in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, only to finish runner-up both times.

Nonetheless, We the People was installed as the 2-1 morning line favorite for the third jewel in horse racing’s Triple Crown – run 1.5 miles over the oval at Belmont Park in Elmont, N.Y. 

We the People won this year on this track, going wire to wire in a Grade 2 race May 14, and is considered the lone speed horse among eight entries.

Running and winning on the Belmont track is considered perhaps the greatest handicapping factor for this race – the first at this distance by any of these 3-year-olds.

It’s not uncommon for longshots to visit the winner’s circle, and the betting payoffs can be massive. When 24.75-1 longshot Ruler on Ice led a group of unheralded runners across the finish line in 2011, the $2 superfecta returned $74,052. Amazingly, 11 of the past 15 Belmont favorites have lost.

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Deep Closers Unlikely Winners at Belmont Stakes

Analysts might not be able to pinpoint that kind of longshot, but most will say not to bet deep closers – and they would be correct. Since 2010, only Essential Quality, Sir Winston, and Creator have rallied from the back half of the pack to win.

Shocking Rich Strike is a pure deep closer who benefited from chasing a historically fast pace in the Derby. A new tact will likely be needed on Saturday and his jockey (Sonny Leon) has not raced at Belmont, otherwise known as “Big Sandy” for its plodding dirt composition.

The Peter Pan Stakes (or an equivalent race held at the exact same conditions) has also proven productive as a steppingstone toward this race. 

We the People scored in this year’s edition of that race – a mile-and-an-eighth contest that featured an eight-horse field. A distant runner-up that day was Golden Glider, who also is entered in the Belmont Stakes.

In Pletcher They Trust

New York-based trainer Todd Pletcher has shown a knack for winning the Belmont Stakes. Since 2006, half a dozen Belmont runners-up and a trio of third-place finishers came from his barn.

His Nest is fresh off a runner-up effort in the Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks, raced five weeks back. Pletcher also saddled Kentucky Oaks winner Rags to Riches, who beat the males in the 2007 Belmont. 

We the People (three wins in four starts) is racing in his first Triple Crown race. In his only Grade 1 appearance, We the People placed seventh in the Arkansas Derby.

Experience, and experience in New York, are what make Mo Donegal one to watch. He won the Remsen (G2) and Wood Memorial (G2) at Aqueduct Race Track, finished fifth in the Kentucky Derby and skipped the Preakness. He broke his maiden at Belmont in October.

How to watch the Belmont Stakes

  • What: 154th 2022 Belmont Stakes
  • When: Saturday, June 11
  • Where: Belmont Race Track, Elmont, N.Y.
  • Race Surface: Dirt
  • Race Distance: 1 1/2 miles
  • Post Time: 6:49 p.m. ET
  • Broadcast: NBC
  • Streaming: Peacock
  • Pre-Race coverage: CNBC, 3-5 p.m.; NBC 5-7 p.m.
  • Weather Forecast: Afternoon showers are likely with high temperatures around 73 degrees

Belmont draw and odds

The draw for the Belmont Stakes was held Tuesday. Here are the results along with the morning line odds.

Post Position Horse Morning Line Odds
1. We The People 2-1
2. Skippylongstocking 20-1
3. Nest 8-1
4. Rich Strike 7-2
5. Creative Minister 6-1
6. Mo Donegal 5-2
7. Golden Glider 20-1
8. Barber Road 10-1

How to bet on the Belmont online in Michigan

Horse racing is not a market that’s available at Michigan’s 15 online sportsbooks, but there are options for online horse racing bettors.

TVG is the largest online betting app for horse racing in Michigan, and has a new customer offer for the Belmont.

To get started, register a new account and use the promo code RISKFREE. Make your first deposit and place your first win-type bet on any race at any track will be risk-free up to $200. If your bet loses, it will be paid in site credit within 24 hours.

Only the portion of a win/place, win/show or win/place/show wager will count for the promotion.

TwinSpires and Xpressbet are also available in Michigan for online betting on horse racing.

Betting on horse racing is also legal at Michigan racetracks, and there is just one of those left: Northville Downs. The track is located at 301 S. Center St. in Northville, and you can call 248-349-1000 to make a reservation for the Belmont.

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Written By Drew Ellis on June 8, 2022
Phil Mickelson

Good or bad, the golf world hasn’t been buzzing over something like LIV Golf in quite some time.

The Saudi-backed league that was started to be a competitive alternative to the PGA Tour debuts this week in London.

While much of the attention LIV has received has been negative, it’s heavily funded and has managed to steal a few players from the PGA. It also has landed a notable local name in James Piot.

Here’s everything you need to know about the LIV Golf League, including insights from a trio Michigan golf media members.

What is the LIV Golf League?

The LIV Golf League is named such as LIV is the Roman numeral for 54. That is how many holes will be played at their events. It also represents the score if a golfer birdied every hole on a par-72 course.


Many reference it as the “Saudi Golf League” as it is financed by the Public Investment Fund. That is basically a financial piece of the Saudi Arabia government.

Due to its connection with the Saudi regime, the league and its participants have received a lot of backlash. Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018, with U.S. intelligence agencies concluding that Saudi crown prince Mohammed Bin Salman approved the operation. That’s just one of many examples of human rights atrocities attached to the Saudi government.

Greg Norman is CEO of LIV Golf Investments and the main mouthpiece for the new league. He was quoted as saying, “Look, we’ve all made mistakes, and you just want to learn from those mistakes and how you can correct them going forward,” when asked about partnering with the Saudis.

“My first thought is, I don’t have any problem with somebody competing with the PGA Tour and offering an alternative to these players. I think that’s the American way. Competition breeds improvement. Where would we be if we only had one restaurant, one carmaker that kind of thing. My problem is with the source of the funding, and how Greg Norman clearly was so desperate to do something to hurt the tour that he was willing to partner with a murderous regime. These are not the people you want to be in business with,” said Bill Hobson, Executive Producer of Michigan Golf Live.

PGA Tour’s reaction

PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan has promised to suspend or ban any PGA Tour member that competes in the LIV Golf League.

While that could also impact the golfers ability to compete in the PGA Championship or Ryder Cup, it still could leave them eligible to compete in the other major championships.

“I almost wish (the PGA Tour) would be just above it a little more,” said Mike Sullivan, Founder and CEO of Brand25 Media LLC. “Just stop whining about it, so to speak. But, I think it’s also just a perfect combination for why these guys are playing in it right now. I mean, money talks, clearly. It is huge paychecks these guys are getting, but you also combine that with just some of their displeasure that they clearly have with the (PGA) Tour. There are clear issues that these guys have, and it’s kind of a combination of the massive amount of money also with the displeasure with the tour itself.”

The USGA announced on Tuesday that it would allow those LIV competitors to play in the U.S. Open next week if they were eligible.

No TV deal as of yet

Sponsorships have also been difficult for the league to secure, as has a television partner.

“They don’t even have a TV partner because no one wants to put them on the air. A lot of people liken this tour to blood money,” said Detroit News Staff Writer Tony Paul.

Though the league has no current television deal, play will be streamed on YouTube, Facebook and LIVGolf.com. Coverage of the opening tournament begins at 9 a.m. ET on Thursday.

Who is playing in the LIV Golf League?

LIV Golf has been throwing out big offers to PGA Tour members, including Norman stating an offer in the high nine digits to Tiger Woods. Most have declined the offers.

While the league lacks much depth, it still has some big names jumping on board.

Looking for bigger payouts and a lighter schedule, former PGA Tour players have decided to leave for the Saudi-backed league.

Dustin Johnson commits

Leading the way is Dustin Johnson, who ranks No. 15 in the world, but was No. 1 just last year.

“Dustin Johnson stands out as definitely the face of the Saudi Tour,” Paul said. “He committed himself to the PGA Tour a few months ago and now has changed his mind, and that’s big for the Saudi Tour. It certainly gives them a draw.”

On Tuesday, Johnson resigned from the PGA Tour in order to join the LIV, citing it was best for him and his family at this time.

“The tour is way bigger than Dustin Johnson. The truth is, as great a player as he is, and he certainly is a great player, he’s not a needle mover,” said Hobson. “He’s not the one who’s going to make your event a success or a failure. He’s not the biggest name in golf. I’m not surprised that DJ changed his mind and went in this direction.”

Mickelson, others set for first event

Phil Mickelson, who drew a lot of negative attention for his comments on the league months ago, is also joining. He has been absent from the PGA Tour for months, missing the first two major championships. His last event was the Saudi International on Feb. 6.

Reports have Mickelson earning $200 million as a signing bonus to join the league, while Johnson is getting $125 million.

On Wednesday, reports surfaced that Bryson DeChambeau and Patrick Reed will be joining LIV Golf later in the month.

Other notable names like Kevin Na, Sergio Garcia, Louis Oosthuizen, Charl Schwartzel, Graeme McDowell, Lee Westwood and Ian Poulter will also be part of the league.

MSU’s James Piot playing this week

A big name in the Michigan circle who will be playing for LIV Golf this weekend is James Piot.

The Farmington Hills native was the 2021 U.S. Amateur Champion, the first to come from Michigan.

“(Piot) is a good young man. He he’s got a good head on his shoulders. He’s delightful. I want him to win every time he tees it up. And I say all that because I don’t think it prevents me from saying, I’m really disappointed that he decided to make that decision,” Hobson said. “I get it. It’s a lot of money. It’s a difficult world, in the world of professional golf, where the competition is so tough. But, I would much rather he had taken that route to earning it than to go into bed with these folks that don’t share anything in common with him. Not one thing, since this is a good young man.”

Not currently a member of the PGA Tour, Piot will not face any kind of PGA ban for playing in any LIV event this year.

“I’m assuming he’s going to be in Q School (PGA qualifying Tour) this fall trying to earn his PGA Tour card. But, right now, he’s basically trying to play events,” Paul said of Piot. “This is an opportunity for him. These eight events, if he plays them all and still finishes in last place in each of them, it’s over $100,000 each time. So do the math, that’s a pretty good kickstart to someone’s portfolio right out of college. Plus, he still gets his opportunities to become a PGA Tour member in the future.”

What is the Saudi Golf League format?

The Saudi Golf League will have a different format than what people are used to on the PGA Tour. Each event will be 54 holes with a shotgun start. There will be no cuts of a 48-man field, assuring each player receives some form of payment.

All 48 players will also be part of one of 12, 4-man teams at the event.

“The different formats they’ll be doing is going to be fascinating to see if the average golfer relates to that enjoys it, etc.,” Sullivan said. “Honestly, just the overall coverage of it. How big is this going to be? What is the coverage on social media going to be like? How mainstream is this first event going to be? I think that is what I’ll be just curious to see, and kind of monitor and track how much attention is this first event actually getting?”

Prize pools

While golfers will compete for the individual prize pool, their play will also be factored into their four-man team and how much that group earns.

In 2022, the LIV Golf League will hold eight events, dishing out a total of $255 million to its players. The first seven events each will have a prize pool of $20 million for individuals and $5 million for teams. The finale in Miami on Oct. 30 will have a $30 million pool for individuals and award $50 million for teams.

This week’s event will see $4 million go to the overall individual winner and approximately $120,000 to last place. The $5 million for teams will be shared between the top three squads.

The 2022 LIV Schedule

The full LIV Golf League schedule is:

  • June 9-11: Centurion Club in London, England
  • July 1-3: Pumpkin Ridge Golf Club in Portland, Oregon
  • July 29-31: Trump National Golf Club Bedminster in Bedminster, New Jersey
  • Sept. 2-4: The International Golf Club in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Sept. 16-18: Rich Harvest Farms in Chicago, Illinois
  • Oct. 7-9: Stonehill in Bangkok, Thailand
  • Oct. 14-16: Royal Greens Golf & Country Club in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
  • Oct. 27-30: Trump National Doral Miami in Miami, Florida

Can I bet on the LIV Golf League?

On Tuesday, FanDuel Sportsbook released odds for the inaugural event. They aren’t, however, currently available in Michigan, so there are no options for the state’s online sports bettors.

DraftKings Sportsbook came out and said the odds for the event are only available Illinois, Oregon, Ontario, Connecticut, Arizona, and Wyoming.

It’s no surprise to see Dustin Johnson as the favorite, opening at +340 to win. Oosthuizen is behind him at +850.

A +340 line for the favorite pre-tournament speaks to lack of overall depth in this league. Most PGA events list a favorite more in the +700-1000 range prior to beginning.

“I just think it could end up, because they just don’t have those big, big names yet, I just think it could end up going the way of the USFL. There’ll be some morbid curiosity to start, and then I think it’ll kind of wean off a little bit with each week. I think that’ll be the same case in gambling markets too,” Paul said.

What else they’re saying about LIV Golf

Tony Paul

“I look at the league, as it’s funded by a nation with a very poor human rights record, and I personally believe that it’s blood money. That said, no one’s offering me millions of dollars to play a game that James and other guys have grown up wanting to make a living at. Who knows what we’d all do if we were offered that kind of opportunity and that money? It’s easy to sit back and say what we believe, and I believe what I believe, but I’m not in their position.”

Bill Hobson

“There are some people who are saying, ‘How dare you criticize these players? They have every right to go and do this.’ Yes, yes they do. Absolutely. Nobody’s saying they don’t have the right. What I’m saying is, it’s not the most beneficial. Just because it’s legal doesn’t make it right in what they’re doing. Whether it’s Mickelson, whether it’s DJ, whoever it is, they’re tarnishing their own reputation by getting into bed with these people who are literally buying their morality. That’s what’s sad about it.”

Mike Sullivan

“The PGA Tour is such a huge animal. It’s such a huge league, I think it’s going to be very tough for anything else to come in and compete with it. Now, obviously, the money is huge. The backing is huge. Some of the names they’ve secured is big. Do I view this as a direct competition and threat to the PGA Tour? I really don’t. I think it’s going to be very interesting to see if this thing actually is sustainable, long term, to be honest.”

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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis is the Lead Writer of Playinmichigan, the No. 1 source for online gambling news in Michigan. A lifelong resident of the state, Ellis has been working in various forms of media since 1998, including more than a decade in the sports betting industry prior to transitioning into US casino markets in 2020.

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Written By Julie Walker on June 7, 2022
Michigan Lottery Educator of the Year

The Michigan Lottery has crowned high school teacher Spencer Vanderheide as its Educator of the Year for 2022. The annual honor is presented on behalf of the lottery’s Excellence in Education program and comes with a $10,000 prize.

Vanderheide, who teaches at Kenowa Hills High School, was one of 34 weekly winners of the contest designed recognize outstanding public school teachers.

Family nomination highlighted new course creation

Hundreds of Michigan educators were nominated for the award program that began in 2014. For Vanderheide’s nomination, a family member wrote the following about the good his new course had done:

“Spencer Vanderheide has dedicated his life to education for a decade. In recent years, he began to see a disheartening trend. While education has remained the same over the years, student anxiety, depression, and suicide rates have skyrocketed over the decade. These statistics did not sit right with Spencer, and in early 2020 he began to ask: ‘What are schools doing about this?’

“A new course called Knight L.I.F.E. (Leadership. Innovation. Future. Education) was born under his leadership … 184 students used their one elective credit to sign up for the course, which was enough for school administration to create four entirely full sections of the course … In a year plagued with so much despair, Spencer brought his students a glimpse of hope.”

Vanderheide, who earned his bachelor’s degree from Hope College and a master’s degree from Western Michigan, has spent all nine years of his teaching career at Kenowa Hills High School. Principal Nate Robrahn offered accolades for the award.

“Mr. Vanderheide has had an incredible positive impact on the students at Kenowa Hills High School,” Robrahn said in a release. “Each day, he encourages students to be their best selves and reminds them that they are enough just as they are. I cannot think of a more deserving educator to be the Michigan Lottery’s Educator of the Year.”

Vanderheide called to career in education

The 2022 Educator of the Year said the ability to help students reach their full potential drew him to teaching.

“Teaching is a career that gives me the opportunity to support and encourage students while empowering them to recognize and then reach their full potential,” Vanderheide said. “I often remind students: ‘You are enough. You matter. You are worth it. You are known and loved.’ By doing that, it helps students learn to be comfortable in who they are and builds their confidence.

“I am honored and humbled to be recognized as the Michigan Lottery’s 2022 Educator of the Year. It’s a privilege to work with my students each day and watch them flourish in and out of the classroom. Having a meaningful impact on their lives and our community is incredibly rewarding.”

Lottery Commissioner Brian O. Neill presented the award to Vanderheide.

“His dedication and compassion have made a positive and lasting impact on the lives of so many students at Kenowa Hills,” Neill said. “We are very pleased to name Spencer Vanderheide the Michigan Lottery Educator of the Year.”

Annual honoree chosen from weekly winners

Each week, the Excellence in Education program awards one Michigan teacher a plaque, a $1,500 cash prize, and $500 grant to their class, school or district. All winners get featured in a weekly TV news segment with the Lotto’s media partners, including WXYZ in Detroit. The annual award winner is picked from a pool of the 34 weekly winners.

The nominees are based on criteria including excellence in the classroom, dedication to their students, leadership skills, effectiveness and if their work inspires others.

Past Educator of the Year winners were:

  • 2021 – Janice Smith, a school social worker at Fisher Magnet Lower Academy in Detroit.
  • 2020 – Megan Sidge, an Autism Spectrum Disorder teacher at Hickory Woods Elementary in Walled Lake.
  • 2019 – Stewart Kieliszewski, an Earth science, biology, mechatronics, and media teacher for eighth through 12 graders at the Ubly Community Schools.
  • 2018 – Kerri Moccio, a first-grade literacy intervention specialist at Bedford Elementary School in Dearborn Heights.
  • 2017 – Linda Holzwarth, a social studies teacher at Portage West Middle School in Portage.
  • 2016 – Daniel Carr, a Spanish and sports marketing teacher at Waverly High School in Lansing.
  • 2015 – Michael Craig, a special education teacher at the Charles Drew Transition Center in Detroit.

Michigan Lottery gives schools $1.419 Billion for school aid

The state’s lottery program has consistently outdone itself the past three years, contributing more than $1 billion dollars in each of those three years to the School Aid Fund.

The record $1.419 billion-dollar contribution for fiscal year 2021 was $240 million more than in 2020, which also was a record-breaking year.

Lottery contributions to the School Aid Fund over the prior six years were:

  • 2020: $1.179 billion
  • 2019: $1.070 billion
  • 2018:  $941.2 million
  • 2017:  $924.1 million
  • 2016:  $888.9 million
  • 2015:  $795.5 million

Photo by Michigan Lottery
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Julie has written, edited and designed words at five Michigan newspapers and websites. She’s worked on two sports desks, including at The Oakland Press and most recently at The Detroit News. Julie has contributed to stories on many big sports moments, from the NFL’s 100th season to Super Bowls to Justin Verlander’s trade to the closing of the Palace of Auburn Hills.  Julie loves lakes, bonfires, Dachshunds, coaching Little League and carrying on her Dad’s fantasy football legacy that he started in 1987 — before there was an app for that.

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Written By Drew Ellis on June 7, 2022
Police car light bar

The Michigan Gaming Control Board has stepped up its efforts to put an end to illegal gambling operations in recent years.

This past week, that led to three people being sentenced to jail time, probation and community service for their role in operating an illegal gambling operation. The sentencing puts an end to a 2019 investigation.

The Spin City case and sentencing

The Michigan Department of Attorney General filed charges in mid-2019 over the operation of Spin City.

Spin City, located at G-3490 Miller Road in Flint Township, was deemed to be an illegal gambling operation.

This was deemed after MGCB investigators pursued a report from Flint Township police about suspected illegal gambling at the location.

“The Michigan Gaming Control Board appreciates the support from the Attorney General’s office and police agencies across Michigan in helping to eliminate illegal gambling locations, which target low-income neighborhoods, lack player protections and can lead to other more serious crimes,” said MGCB Executive Director Henry Williams. “These types of illegal gambling locations also deprive K-12 schools of tax funding, which the state charges on legal, regulated gambling.”

All three defendants were sentenced to a day in jail. They will be subject to random drug testing during the probation period they must serve.

The sentencing went as follows:

  • Anthony Sutton, 53, of Wilmington, N.C., pleaded guilty to a gambling operations felony charge. He was sentenced to a year of probation, 100 hours of community service and $1,058 in fees and costs. Sutton also forfeited nearly $12,500 in cash to the Flint Township Police Department and 67 computers and games confiscated by the State of Michigan when a search warrant was served on Feb. 27, 2019, and the operation was closed.
  • Kara Schilling, 38, of Flint pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor of maintaining a gambling house for gain and was sentenced to a year of probation. She also received 50 hours of community service and $1,058 in fees and costs.
  • Marjorie Brown, 53, of Flint, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor of attempting to maintain a gambling house for gain. She was sentenced to six months of probation, 100 hours of community service and $985 in fees and costs.

Spotting illegal operations and machines

The MGCB spells out what warrants an illegal operation or illegal machines on its website.

For an illegal machine, here are the things to look out for:

  1. If the player has to pay to play them.
  2. The outcome of the games are determined primarily by accidental or fortuitous circumstances. That means the player isn’t in control of the result like in an arcade video game.
  3. The player may be awarded something of value.
  4. They don’t fall within the parameters of current state law.

Suppliers of gaming machines may try to convince Michigan business owners their games are legal for their non-gambling venue, but that’s often not true.

According to the MGCB, they often claim the games are skill-based, are paid out in gift cards and not cash, or that they are redemption games.

Illegal machines no help for anyone

Regulated gaming machines in Michigan are important because they are required to have portions of their revenue put back into the state.

We’ve looked at the growing tax revenue that the state has generated through retail and online gaming. That tax revenue largely goes back into the schools throughout the state.

For players, these unregulated machines don’t adhere to the requirements for payout percentages either. You can just be giving away your money with no real hope of a return.

If there is a dispute over winnings, the MGCB has no ability to resolve the issue if its on an unregulated machine.

For businesses that utilize these machines, they find themselves prone to more serious criminal activity. That could lead to:

  • Loss of liquor license
  • Loss of lottery license
  • Criminal prosecution
  • Monetary fines

How much MGCB has cracked down

We’ve reported recently on some raids and seizures of illegal gaming machines around the state.

To date, Michigan business owners using machines for illegal gambling have been charged with 246 felony and misdemeanor charges.

Thus far, Michigan has had 41 warrants issued for the matter, with more than 1,000 machines seized. Nearly $250,000 in cash has been forfeited to local law enforcement.

To report on an illegal gaming machine that you’ve discovered, call 888-314-2682. For any questions on the topic, contact the MGCB at 313-456-4100.

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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis is the Lead Writer of Playinmichigan, the No. 1 source for online gambling news in Michigan. A lifelong resident of the state, Ellis has been working in various forms of media since 1998, including more than a decade in the sports betting industry prior to transitioning into US casino markets in 2020.

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Written By Drew Ellis on May 31, 2022Last Updated on June 3, 2022
Detroit Grand Prix

One of the premiere sports events to be held in Detroit each year kicks off the summer this weekend.

The 2022 Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix will wave its green flag on Sunday afternoon. The best the IndyCar Series has to offer will be on hand at Belle Isle.

Along with the IndyCar race, the Detroit Grand Prix offers up a feel weekend of racing for sports bettors, and entertainment for fans of all ages.

How to watch the 2022 Detroit Grand Prix

  • What: 2022 Detroit Grand Prix
  • When: Sunday, June 5
  • Where: The Raceway On Belle Isle
  • Track Type: Street
  • Race Distance: 200.5 miles (90 laps)
  • Start Time: 3 p.m.
  • TV Broadcast: USA Network
  • Radio Broadcast: SiriusXM, INDYCAR Radio
  • Online viewing: Peacock
  • Weather Forecast: Partly Cloudy, High near 80, 10% chance of rain.

Detroit Grand Prix Schedule of Events

The Detroit Grand Prix weekend will bring a lot more than just a single IndyCar race on Sunday.

Located near Scott Fountain on Belle Isle, the Fountain Fan Area will be host to entertainment throughout the weekend. The track will be holding multiple races and qualifying trials as well.

Gates open on Friday starting at 7:30 a.m. and events will take place until Sunday’s post-race ceremonies.

Detroit Grand Prix’s website offer a complete rundown of all the events taking place, but here’s the notable things you may want to be part of.

Friday, June 3

  • 6 p.m.: Live performance from The Verve Pipe

Saturday, June 4

  • 9:30 a.m.: Indy Lights Drivers’ Autograph Session (at IndyCar Fan Village in the Meijer Fan Zone)
  • 10:25 a.m.: Masters Endurance Legends USA – Race 1
  • 10:30 a.m.: IndyCar Series Drivers’ Autograph Session (Fan Zone)
  • 11:30 a.m.: Indy Lights – Race 1
  • Noon: IMSA SpotsCar Championship Drivers’ Autograph Session (Transporters in 5/3 Bank Paddock)
  • 3:10 p.m.: Chevrolet Sports Car Classic Race
  • 5:30 p.m.: Live performance from JR JR

Sunday, June 5

  • 11 a.m.: Masters Endurance Legends USA – Race 2
  • Noon: Live performance from The Insiders
  • 12:10 p.m.: Indy Lights – Race 2
  • 1:30 p.m.: Live performance from The Docksiders
  • 3:30 p.m.: Detroit Grand Prix

For ticket information, visit DetroitGP.com or call (866) 464-PRIX.

Detroit GP returning to downtown in 2023

The Detroit Grand Prix has been a two-race weekend since 2013, with one race typically held on Saturday and the other on Sunday.

This year marks the first time since then that IndyCar is returning to a one-race format for the Detroit GP.

Reasons behind the change are due to plans to return this event to the streets of Detroit starting in 2023.

Last November, the City Council of Detroit unanimously approved a plan by Penske Entertainment to return the Detroit GP back to downtown for a single-race weekend starting next year. It will be the return of auto racing to downtown Detroit since 1991.

Penske’s plan propose a less disruptive experience for city traffic in the weeks leading up to the race, while also allowing more access and visibility for spectators. The proposed track will have 10 corners and is 1.7 miles in length, compared to the 2.5-mile track on Belle Isle.

Streets included in the new track will be:

  • Jefferson Ave.
  • Bates St.
  • Atwater St.
  • St. Antoine St.
  • Franklin St.
  • Rivard St.

Ericsson looks to build on Indy 500 win

Oddsmakers see Alex Palou and Josef Newgarden as the favorites for this race.

Indy 500 Odds Alex Palou Josef Newgarden Colton Herta Patricio O’Ward Will Power
DraftKings +500 +500 +600 +600 +600
BetMGM +450 +550 +550 +550 +600
BetRivers +450 +550 +500 +550 +650

Marcus Ericsson is coming off a win in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 to vault himself into the point standings lead by 13 over Patricio O’Ward.

In 2021, Ericsson and O’Ward each took home a victory at Belle Isle. Ericsson won the opening race while O’Ward won Sunday’s finale.

IndyCar veteran Scott Dixon has earned three victories in his time at Belle Isle. He currently sits sixth in the season standings following a 21st-place finish in the Indy 500.

How to bet on the Detroit Grand Prix?

While organizations like NASCAR and Formula 1 are different than IndyCar, the betting options for all motorsports are pretty similar.

Here’s the type of wagers you can expect to find for the Detroit Grand Prix, or IndyCar racing in general.

  • Outrights: Bet on a driver to win the race. Book the bet at currently posted moneyline odds. IndyCar outrights always offer positive odds, because there are no odds-on favorites to win. The number indicates how much you stand to win for every $100 you bet.
  • Driver matchups/groups: Bet on one driver against another or a group. Book the bet at currently posted moneyline odds. No need to pick winners here, just who will finish ahead in a head-to-head scenario or out of a group of drivers.
  • Podium/top-five finish: If you’re not confident in a driver to win, you can often find odds to finish in the top 3 or top 5 at lesser odds.
  • Prop Odds: As the race approaches, more markets become available. You can often find over/under odds for finishing position, fastest lap odds or even live bets. There will also be prop odds regarding the actual race itself, including number of caution flags, brand of winning car and more.

Photo by Paul Sancya / Associated Press
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Written by

Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis is the Lead Writer of Playinmichigan, the No. 1 source for online gambling news in Michigan. A lifelong resident of the state, Ellis has been working in various forms of media since 1998, including more than a decade in the sports betting industry prior to transitioning into US casino markets in 2020.

View all posts by Drew Ellis

Written By Drew Ellis on June 6, 2022
Upper peninsula casino guide, Mackinac Bridge

The Upper Peninsula takes its fair share of jokes during the winter, but there’s not many better places to be during the summer.

With 10 different casinos around the northern part of the state, it’s easy for Michigan casino goers to plan a lengthy trip in the U.P.

But, the land has a lot more to offer than slot machines and table games.

Any outdoor attraction you can think of is covered, and you can find some of the best food in the country. You can literally spend all summer finding new things to do.

That’s where Playinmichigan comes in to help.

We’ve got a rundown of all the casinos, what they offer, and what local entertainment and dining options are available. We also mixed in some diamonds in the rough that require a little journey outside the gambling halls.

If you’ve got some time away from work during the summer, let us be your guide through the U.P.

*Casinos listed around the perimeter of the U.P if you head west after leaving Mackinac Bridge.

Kewadin Casinos Manistique

Location: 5630 W, US-2, Manistique, 49854

Gaming: Slots, Virtual Table Games

Local Attractions: Get a view of the beautiful lakeshore sites on the Manistique Boardwalk near Lakeview Park. Included in your walk, you can get a closer view of the Manistique East Breakwater Lighthouse, or plan a stay at the campground. Also pop by the Schoolcraft Tourism & Commerce Center to check out the Paul Bunyan Statue. The Manistique Railroad Car Ferry Dock Remains are temporarily closed, but still a visible historic viewing site near the Manistique River. If you’re willing to make a short 20-minute drive Northwest, you can see Kitch-iti-kipi, Michigan’s largest natural freshwater spring.

Local Eateries: Manistique is no stranger to welcoming food. The “40” Bar & Grill, TAP21, and Wheaty’s are all local favorites. Also consider Clyde’s Drive-In Restaurant, a Manistique staple since 1949. If in the mood for a café, Manistique has you covered with Three Seasons Café and Cedar Street Café & Espresso Bar.

Days Needed To Explore: 1-2

Island Resort & Casino

Location: W 399 US-2, Harris, 49845

Gaming: Over 1,200 slots, Blackjack, Craps, Roulette, Poker, Let It Ride, Spanish 21

Casino Site Features: 326-room hotel, RV Park, Sweetgrass Golf Club, Sage Run Golf Club, Island Showroom, Club Four One, eight restaurants

Local Attractions: Get a little historical background at the Potawatomi tribe at their Heritage Center near the resort. You can also stop over at Northern Sun Winery and Vineyards. If the local golf scene isn’t of interest, there’s plenty of kayaking options closer to the coast.

Local Eateries: Harris has most of its dining options right there at Island Resort & Casino. Just down the road on M-41, Powers offers up some more local appeal options like Wilson Creek Café, Sidetracks, or Nutter’s Sports Bar. Four Corners Bar & Restaurant isn’t far away either, sitting 10 miles away in Carney.

Days Needed To Explore: 2-3

Northern Waters Casino

Location: N5384 US-45, Watersmeet, 49969

Gaming: Over 600 slots, Blackjack, Craps, Roulette

Casino Site Features: 132-room hotel, Lac Vieux Desert Golf Course, two restaurants, spa

Local Attractions: A short trek about a mile north will take you to Bass Lake Township Park where you can get some beautiful views and peaceful scenery. About 12 miles north, you can see Bond Falls, one of the many great falls in the U.P. South of the casino, you can visit the Ottawa National Forest Visitor Center to plan some picturesque hikes or OHV (off-highway vehicle) rides.

Local Eateries: If you don’t mind taking a short trip south to the northern tip of Wisconsin, you can find a lot of different dining options. The Bear Trap Inn, Lanny’s Fireside, and Asana Suka are all highly-rated stops. If you want to keep things local, Little Pigs Bar-B-Q offers a real home cooking touch to hickory smoked BBQ.

Days Needed To Explore: 1-2

Ojibwa Casino Baraga

Location: 16449 Michigan Ave, Baraga, 49908

Gaming: More than 300 slots, Blackjack, Roulette, Let It Ride, 2 Deck Pitch, Craps

Casino Site Features: 40-room hotel, two restaurants, bowling alley

Local Attractions: If needing a break from the casino action, head to Ojibwa Campground a little northwest of the gambling action. There, you can get a great look at Sand Point Lighthouse at the Ojibwa Marina. Baraga State Park offers up beautiful views along Keweenaw Bay and is a great hiking and kayaking spot. ORV trails are also an option at the park.

Local Eateries: Irene’s Pizza can fill those needs for a little grease, or you can stop by Lucky 7 Restaurant for a few more options. Baraga Drive-In gives the old-fashioned vibe if that’s what you’re in to. Otherwise, you can hop across the bay to stop by Skipper’s Bar and Grill or the Nite Owl Café in L’Anse.

Days Needed To Explore: 2-3

Ojibwa Casino Marquette

Location: 105 Acre Trail, Marquette, 49855

Gaming: More than 500 slots, Blackjack, Roulette, Let It Ride, 2 Deck Pitch, Craps, Poker

Casino Site Features: Concert Hall, two restaurants

Local Attractions: Marquette isn’t lacking in things to do, as it’s the most populous city in the U.P. Presque Isle Park is one of the top draws with wooded trails, lakeside clips and plenty of picnic facilities. Don’t forget to snap some photos at Sunset Point, Black Rocks or the Presque Isle Harbor Breakwater Lighthouse. There’s many more hiking trails and parks to go around, including Sugarloaf Mountain, Hope’s Falls and Dead River Falls. If you need a break from nature, consider De Vos Art Museum, Shiras Planetarium or Marquette Maritime Museum. You can also stop by Northern Michigan University and the Superior Dome to see where Steve Mariucci and Tom Izzo grew into local coaching legends. If all that isn’t exciting enough for you, head to Lakenenland Sculpture Park for a look at scrap iron sculptures.

Local Eateries: The son of a Yooper, I’ve made my fair share of stops at Casa Calabria in Marquette for a great steak dinner. But, Marquette has all your food needs covered. Iron Bay Restaurant & Drinkery, Steinhaus, The Vierling, Digs Gastropub and Lagniappe Cajun Creole Eater are all popular stops. If you really want something local, head to Vango’s Pizza & Cocktail Lounge for some cudighi. If you are looking for pasties, stop by Jean Kay’s Pasties & Subs.

Days Needed To Explore: 3-4

Kewadin Casinos Christmas

Location: N7761 Candy Cane Ln, Christmas, 49862

Gaming: Slots, Blackjack, Let It Ride, Virtual Table Games

Local Attractions: Though you may be in Christmas, for a real holiday feel you’ll want to make the five-mile trip south around South Bay and head to Munising. Munising offers a lot of great activities, including Glass Bottom Shipwreck Tours, Pictured Rocks Cruises, the Riptide Ride, Bay Furnace Ruins, San Point March, Tannery Falls, Horseshoe Falls, Alger Falls or Munising Bay. There’s also Miners Castle Point for a glorious, elevated view of the coast. You can also enjoy a handful of different lighthouses around the bay. During colder months, you can enjoy Ice Cave Tours or partake in the ice climbing wall at The Curtains. Needless to say, you have a lot of options on your plate.

Local Eateries: Christmas does have a few nice dining options to consider, including Foggy’s Steakhouse and The Duck Pond. Over in Munising, Tracey’s, Eh! Burger, Pictured Rocks Pizza, Driftwood Deli or Dogpatch Restaurant cover a wide range of dining options.

Days Needed To Explore: 2-3

Bay Mills Resort & Casino

Location: 11386 W Lakeshore Dr, Brimley, 49715

Gaming: Around 700 slots, over a dozen table games

Casino Site Features: 144-room hotel, Sunrise View RV Park, Wild Bluff Golf Course, multiple restaurants

Local Attractions: While Bay Mills has its own attractions, Brimley Beach and Brimley State Park offer something for those looking for some fresh air while in the area. Camping is an option right next to the beach. Don’t forget to stop by the Wheels of History Museum for a look back at what life used to be like. Mission Hill also provides a 3.6-mile scenic hiking trail around Spectacle Lake and Monocle Lake.

Local Eateries: Pickles is often busy, as it’s a popular destination, but it’s worth the trip. Many local casino-goers recommended the Bar & Grill near Bay Mills for your next adventure. Jack’s Grub & Pub, Cozy Inn and Sacy’s Restaurant are also cozy local stops where you can grab some great fish, or whatever else your heart desires.

Days Needed To Explore: 1-2

Kewadin Casinos Sault Ste. Marie

Location: 2186 Shunk Rd., Sault Ste. Marie, 49783

Gaming: Over 800 slots, Blackjack, Poker, Craps, Roulette, Let It Ride

Casino Site Features: 319-room hotel, 30,000-square-foot convention center, DreamMakers Theater.

Local Attractions: Right at the very top of the U.P., Sault Ste. Marie is your place for a lot of history. You can stop by the Sault Historical Sites, the River of History Museum, the Tower of History, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society, the Chippewa County Historical Society, or the Museum Ship Valley Camp. Of course there are the Soo Locks and all they have to offer, including the Famous Soo Locks Boat Tours and Soo Locks Park. Between that and waving to Canadians across St. Mary’s River, you can also pop over to Lake Superior State University.

Local Eateries: The Wicked Sister, Lock View Restaurant, Karl’s Cuisine and The Antler’s are popular local stops with wide-ranging menus. The 1668 Winery & Lockside Brewery provides a lot of outdoor seating to view the Soo Locks.

Days Needed To Explore: 2-3

Kewadin Casinos Hessel

Location: N 3 Mile Rd., Hessel, 49745

Gaming: Slots, Virtual Table Games

Local Attractions: Just a few miles south of Kewadin Casinos Hessel, you can find a world of outdoor activities in Cedarville. A trio of nature preserves are all within short distance and sitting on the southern coast of the U.P. Les Cheneaux Golf Club isn’t far off, as are canoe and kayak tours at Woods & Waters. Marinas and campgrounds are also available around the area. If you are seeking some educational stops, visit Les Cheneaux Historical Museum or Les Cheneaux Maritime Museum.

Local Eateries: Ang-Gio’s Restaurant can fill all your Italian needs while visiting Cedarville. NibbleLungen provides some Mediterranean options, while also providing a hardy breakfast menu. Snow’s Bar & Grille is also a local favorite in Cedarville. If you want to dine in Hessel, you can give The Restaurant at Les Cheneaux Culinary School a try.

Days Needed To Explore: 1-2

Kewadin Casinos St. Igance

Location: 3015 Mackinac Trail, St. Ignace, 49781

Gaming: Slots, Blackjack, Poker, Craps, Roulette, Let It Ride

Local Attractions: You don’t need to look far for some outdoor ideas. Kiwanis Beach sits right on the coastline near the Mackinac Bridge. You can jump on one of the many ferry options to head out on the water, or take a stroll down the beach to see Wawatam Lighthouse or St. Anthony’s Rock. There’s even parasailing options if you’re up for a little bit of a thrill ride. You can head indoors to Ford de Buade Museum or the Museum of Ojibwa Culture. A visit to St. Ignace is also not complete without a stop at The Mystery Spot.

Local Eateries: There’s plenty of dining options with great views, leading with Mackinac Grille & Patio Bar, right near the lighthouse. The Gangplank, Village Inn Restaurant, MI Patio and The Galley are other well-received options along the coast. Driftwood Restaurant & Sports Bar is just a little further north of the others, but still worth the trip.

Days Needed To Explore: 1-2

Other Stops To Mix In

Obviously Mackinac Island and the Mackinac Bridge bring their own attractions, but here are some other gems in the U.P. to consider for your next trip.

Tahquamenon Falls: A series of falls on the Tahquamenon River, just before they empty into Lake Superior. They are the largest waterfalls in Michigan. Located at Tahquamenon Falls State Park in Luce County, the falls are a little over an hour from Bay Mills, Kewadin Manistique, Kewadin St. Ignace and Kewadin Sault Ste. Marie.

Oswald’s Bear Ranch: Over two dozen rescued bears can be viewed in enclosed habitats at this spot in Newberry. As part of Luce County, it’s about an hour from Bay Mills, Kewadin Manistique and Kewadin St. Ignace.

Garlyn Zoo: Located in Naubinway on the southern coast of the Upper Peninsula, the 30-acre zoo is home to over 450 animals. It sits just 35 miles from Kewadin St. Ignace.

Whitewater Rafting In Iron Mountain: A real big outdoor thrill can come from whitewater rafting and Iron Mountain offers a lot of tour options. Iron Mountain sits about 40 miles northwest of Island Resort & Casino.

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park: Located in Ontonagon, the Porcupine Mountains are a group of small mountains near the shore of Lake Superior. It is just about an hour from Northern Waters and from Ojibwa Baraga.

Photo by Shutterstock
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Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis is the Lead Writer of Playinmichigan, the No. 1 source for online gambling news in Michigan. A lifelong resident of the state, Ellis has been working in various forms of media since 1998, including more than a decade in the sports betting industry prior to transitioning into US casino markets in 2020.

View all posts by Drew Ellis

Written By Drew Ellis on June 2, 2022Last Updated on June 3, 2022
Gun Lake expansion rendering

Big things are happening at Gun Lake Casino in Wayland.

On May 19, Gun Lake hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking for its $300 million Phase 5 expansion to the west side of its property.

Included in the plans is a new 15-floor hotel and an Aquadome which will include three pools, but also be able to convert into a concert venue and banquet center.

Owned by the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi, Gun Lake Casino already features 2,500 slot machines, 47 table games and more.

Plans call for the grand opening of the new expansion projects in March of 2025.

What’s included in Phase 5 of Gun Lake’s expansion?

Phase 5 has its primary focus on the new hotel and Aquadome, but will also include a new café, gift shop, spa and lobby bar.

“Phase 5 will transform the property into becoming a first-class destination resort. Without question, its design attributes will create a unique entertainment experience,” said Gun Lake Casino CEO, Sal Semola. “Over the past 11 years, the Gun Lake Tribe and our Gun Lake Casino Team Members have worked tirelessly to make this all a possibility. This is just the next step towards making our property the premier entertainment destination in the Midwest.”

Courtesy of Gun Lake


Standing six stories, the Aquadome will be 32,000 square feet and contain three pools.

One pool will be for families, one for patrons 21 and older, and another for VIP guests.

The Aquadome will also included a swim-up bar and feature live palm trees and tropical flora.

When not being used for swimming, the facility can be transformed into a concert venue, banquet center and entertainment center.

The dynamic form of the Aquadome is sculpted by the sun’s daily path across the site and will reflect the sky from all four of Michigan’s seasons.


The hotel will be 15 floors and contain 252 rooms. Included in those rooms will be 30 suites and a two-story suite on the top floors.

Color palettes and design of the hotel and resort are inspired by Gun Lake and surrounding landscape in the area.

Other additions

Also being included in Phase 5 is the following:

  • Sandhill Café, featuring a three-meal restaurant and 137 seats
  • New gift shop
  • A lobby bar overlooking the Aquadome
  • Full-service spa
  • New pools and a hot tub
  • Business center and meeting space

Expansion could create 350 jobs, economic boost

The cost of the Phase 5 expansion is $300 million. However, the estimated economic impact for the project is $650 million.

On top of that, an estimated 350 jobs will be created by the expansion project.

“Job creation is one of the many things we’re excited about with this expansion,” Semola said. “We take great pride in providing career opportunities with outstanding benefits for people in our community. These jobs will include guest relations, housekeeping, entertainment, and several other departments.”

Phase 5’s layout will be handled by HBG Design.

Photo by Courtesy of Gun Lake
Drew Ellis Avatar
Written by

Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis is the Lead Writer of Playinmichigan, the No. 1 source for online gambling news in Michigan. A lifelong resident of the state, Ellis has been working in various forms of media since 1998, including more than a decade in the sports betting industry prior to transitioning into US casino markets in 2020.

View all posts by Drew Ellis

Written By Drew Ellis on June 3, 2022
Michigan lottery jackpots

We’ve all dreamt about the things we would do if we won $1 million.

While that may have felt like a far-fetched fantasy in the past, the Michigan Lottery has made nearly two dozen new millionaires already in 2022.

The prizes keep piling up this year, with no end in sight.

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23 Michigan Lottery jackpots of $1 million or more

Thus far in 2022, the Michigan Lottery has awarded a total of 23 prizes of $1 million or more.

That includes four $4 million winners, with the latest coming on May 26.

Date Prize Game
May 26, 2022 $4 million Ultimate Millions
April 5, 2022 $4 million $4,000,000 Cash
March 10, 2022 $4 million Extreme Cash
Jan. 25, 2022 $4 million $150 Ca$h Explosion
April 20, 2022 $3.39 million Lotto 47
June 9, 2022 $2 million $80 Million Cash Payout
April 26, 2022 $2 million $2,000,000 Multiplier Spectacular
April 21, 2022 $2 million Max Your Millions
Feb. 8, 2022 $2 million $2,000,000 Lucky 7’s
Feb. 3, 2022 $2 million Lucky X100
June 18, 2022 $1.85 million Lotto 47
April 1, 2022 $1.79 million Jumbo Jackpot Slots
Feb. 11, 2022 $1.77 million Lucky 7’s
Jan. 19, 2022 $1.43 million Lotto 47
May 13, 2022 $1.27 million Jumbo Jackpot Slots
Feb. 9, 2022 $1.25 million Lotto 47
May 7, 2022 $1.2 million Lotto 47
July 26, 2022 $1.18 million Jackpot Slots
Sept. 24, 2022 $1 million Powerball
Sept. 1, 2022 $1 million Triple Million
Aug. 24, 2022 $1 million Powerball
Aug. 11, 2022 $1 million $40 Million Cash Payout
July 14, 2022 $1 million Triple Million
June 21, 2022 $1 million 20X Cashword
June 21, 2022 $1 million Mystery Multiplier
June 21, 2022 $1 million 20X Cashword
May 10, 2022 $1 million Wild Time Millions
April 19, 2022 $1 million Premiere Play
April 8, 2022 $1 million Mega Millions
April 8, 2022 $1 million Mega Millions
Feb. 17, 2022 $1 million Wild Time Millions
Feb. 14, 2022 $1 million Powerball
Feb. 8, 2022 $1 million Red Hot Millions
Jan. 25, 2022 $1 million Millionaire Maker

Some other notables from the prize list of this year’s Michigan Lottery:

  • Just one of the 23 $1 million prizes came from online play. It was on April 8, and came on Mega Millions.
  • On top of the 23 prizes of at least $1 million, a total of 88 prizes of at least $100,000 have been awarded in 2022.
  • In just the first two days of June, a total of 348 prizes of at least $600 have been awarded.

Instant retail games sit up top

The biggest prizes of 2022 were all retail-purchased games, and all different instant games.

“The thing that I think is unique about an instant game, as opposed to a draw game, is that they attract your avid players, but there is something that a casual player would identify with as well,” said Jake Harris, Player Relations Manager for the Michigan Lottery. “They really have a broad appeal for all folks.”

While the majority of top prizes for those games have been claimed, the good news is, there are still four grand prizes available.

As of Thursday night, Extreme Cash and $4,000,000 Cash each have two $4 million prizes still available to win.

Bigger tickets drawing more interest

Each of the top prizes came from $30 instant games. As the price of each ticket grows, so do top prizes.

Harris indicates that tickets $5 or greater are the ones finding the most success for the Michigan Lottery in terms of revenue.

“I think that what we’ve seen is the price points are a big sticking point right now. Typically, games $5 and up have tended to perform a little bit better. I think that just has to do with player interest, but also the prizing structure is a big part of that,” Harris said. “If you look at typical $1 instant, you know your top prize is going to be around $5,000 or so. A $2 ticket, you’re talking probably $30-to-50,000, depending on the game. Once you get to that $5 price point, in most cases, it’s somewhere between $300,000-500,000. So, I think what we see is, players like to win big prizes.”

Michigan currently has 89 instant retail games available. Here’s how many different games are available at each instant ticket price:

  • $1: 8
  • $2: 18
  • $5: 22
  • $10: 18
  • $20: 16
  • $30: 7

Online presence growing

While retail is still where the Michigan Lottery generates most of its business, it has continued to grow its online games library.

Currently, the Michigan Lottery offers 148 online games on its website. That is compared to just the 89 in-store options.

Another more recent trend is players being able to take non-winning tickets of select games and use them to enter into second-chance games on the website.

“Players are encouraged to hold on to their non-winning tickets and scan the bar code of the ticket on the Michigan Lottery app. That gets them into second chance games for a chance to win some money,” Harris said. “So, you’re going to see more and more crossover promotions both on the online side and the traditional retail side. I think that this is good for lottery players overall, and so far it’s something that players have appreciated.”

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Written by

Drew Ellis

Drew Ellis is the Lead Writer of Playinmichigan, the No. 1 source for online gambling news in Michigan. A lifelong resident of the state, Ellis has been working in various forms of media since 1998, including more than a decade in the sports betting industry prior to transitioning into US casino markets in 2020.

View all posts by Drew Ellis

Written By Paul Costanzo on June 2, 2022
Soaring Eagle age requirement

An 18-year-old freshman at Central Michigan University will be able to walk into Soaring Eagle Casino this fall, and legally play a hand of blackjack. Or place a bet on the CMU football team. Whatever they’d like.

That same person, however, would not be able to sit in their dorm room and make a bet on the casino’s Eagle Casino & Sports online platform.

This odd quirk is the result of the differences in legal gambling age at Michigan’s tribal casinos and their online counterparts, as the latter are governed by the Michigan Gaming Control Board.

Tribal casinos can set their own age for their properties, while the MGCB has set 21 as the legal age for all online gambling.

Soaring Eagle age requirement, online vs. in-person

The difference in gambling ages is nothing new for Michigan. Since the launch of online casinos, online sportsbooks and online poker, these gaps have existed.

An 18-year-old could have gone to Bay Mills Casino in Brimley and played roulette, but couldn’t do the same on their DraftKings app despite it being available for more than a year.

But Soaring Eagle is its own animal, in a way.

For one, its online product is still very new. It launched in April, more than a year after any of its competitors.

But its connection to CMU is the biggie. While college students don’t come close to making up the majority of Soaring Eagle’s patrons, plenty do make the trip across town. With the addition of Ascend Sportsbook, also in April, you can expect that to increase, especially during football season.

Soaring Eagle is also the southernmost Michigan casino with an age requirement of 18. That makes it a popular destination for birthdays or just a day trip for the under 21 crowd.

None of that is going to change, of course, but you could imagine there have been, and will be, some disappointed 18-, 19- and 20-year olds who see the shiny new Eagle Casino & Sports brand then realize they’re still too young to gamble online.

What is the legal gambling age at Michigan casinos?

If you’re 21, you’re old enough to gamble anywhere in Michigan, both online and at any of the state’s 26 casinos.

Along with online casinos, the three retail casinos in Detroit — Hollywood Casino at Greektown, MGM Grand Detroit and MotorCity Casino — are all regulated by the MGCB and have an age requirement of 21.

The tribal casinos have their own age requirements, and here’s the breakdown:

Casinos in Michigan that are age 18 and up

  • Bay Mills Casino, Brimley
  • Island Resort Casino, Harris
  • Leelanau Sands Casino, Peshawbestown
  • Little River Casino Resort, Manistee
  • Kewadin Casinos, Christmas, Hessel, Manistique, Sault Ste. Marie and St. Ignace
  • Northern Waters Casino Resort, Watersmeet
  • Ojibwa Casinos, Baraga and Marquette
  • Saganing Eagles Landing Casino, Standish
  • Soaring Eagle Casino Resort, Mount Pleaasant
  • Turtle Creek Casino, Williamsburg

Casinos in Michigan that have a 19-year-old age requirement

  • Odawa Casino, Petoskey

Tribal casinos in Michigan you have to be 21 to enter

  • FireKeepers Casino, Battle Creek
  • Four Winds Casinos, Dowagiac, Hartford, and New Buffalo
  • Gun Lake Casino, Wayland
  • Odawa Casino, Mackinaw City

Photo by Shutterstock
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Paul Costanzo

Paul Costanzo is the managing editor of Playinmichigan, the No. 1 source for online gambling news in Michigan. He has covered news and sports throughout the state at various media outlets over the past 20 years. Paul works with a talented team at Playinmichigan to provide the latest news and information on Michigan’s booming sports betting, online casino and online poker industries.

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Written By Hill Kerby on June 2, 2022
WSOP Bracelet Series

For the first time ever, online poker players in Michigan will have the opportunity to win a World Series Of Poker gold bracelet from the comfort of their own homes.

Starting June 5, WSOP MI will be running its inaugural online bracelet series, which features eight events on weekend dates through July 17.

These dates coincide with the annual World Series of Poker festival already underway in Las Vegas. Additional online bracelet events are also being offered in Nevada, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania during the same timeframe.

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WSOP Michigan Online Bracelet Series schedule

Sundays are the largest days in online poker, and Michigan poker players should expect to compete for a bracelet each time that day hits the calendar during the 2022 WSOP.

All online bracelet events have buy-ins ranging from $400 to $1,000, with half of them at the $500 price point. One of those is the BIG $500, which will award the first gold bracelet in WSOP Michigan history come June 5.

Other notable events include a $500 PLO 6-Max on June 19, the $1,000 Online Bracelet Championship on July 10, and the $777 Lucky 7’s Second Chance on July 16, the only online Saturday event of the summer. All events begin at 6 p.m. ET.

Date Online Event Buy-in Re-entries allowed
Sunday, June 5 Big $500 $500 3x
Sunday, June 12 Ultra Deepstack $400 2x
Sunday, June 19 Pot Limit Omaha 6-Max $500 3x
Sunday, June 26 Online Deepstack Championship $600 2x
Sunday, July 3 Deepstack $500 2x
Sunday, July 10 Online Bracelet Championship $1,000 2x
Saturday, July 16 Lucky 7s Second Chance $777 3x
Sunday, July 17 Summer Saver $500 3x

Adding to the full WSOP schedule

In addition to WSOP MI’s eight bracelet events, WSOP PA has eight of its own, and WSOP NV/NJ have another 13 for their players. On top of those 29 events, the World Series of Poker has 88 events at its new venues of Bally’s and Paris Las Vegas, as well as a Tournament of Champions to cap it all off.

The WSOP runs from May 31 through July 20, with several marquee tournaments at every buy-in range. Some highlight events include the opening weekend’s $500 “The Housewarming,” which features a $5 million guaranteed prize pool, the popular $1,500 “Monster Stack” and “Millionaire Maker” events in mid-June, and the $50,000 Poker Players Championship, which will run from June 26-30.

The $10,000 Main Event begins Sunday, July 3, and will run for 14 days before declaring a World Champion on Saturday, July 16. 

Will future WSOP MI online bracelets be won amongst NV and NJ players?

WSOP MI went live on March 28, just before Michigan was accepted into the Multi-State Internet Gaming Agreement (MSIGA) on April 7. The Michigan Gaming Control Board announced recently that it has signed onto the agreement.

That means interstate competition alongside Nevada, New Jersey, and Delaware is closer than ever.

For now, Michigan online poker remains ring-fenced until WSOP (or another operator) meets the MGCB’s requirements to begin interstate poker, meaning these events are contained to those within Michigan state lines.

When those requirements are met, WSOP MI tournament pools can merge with those of Nevada and New Jersey to create even larger fields and prize pools. It will also give players in the Midwest a more convenient option to participate.

Perhaps best of all, it could provide a roadmap for other states to legalize online poker and come along.

Photo by Associated Press
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